FOX47 NEWS - Transit Commission Votes to Raise Metro Fares

Jeff Angileri
Jan 14, 2009, 12:04 AM

Metro riders will likely be paying more to ride the bus this year.

Tuesday night, the Madison Transit Commission voted to increase fares from a $1.50 to $1.75.

This was not a unanimous decision. The vote resulted in a 4 - 4 tie, with the commission chair casting the winning vote.

Transit Commission members originally voiced concerns that raising fairs from a $1.50 to $2 would unfairly burden the poorest riders. So, they overwhelmingly voted it down last December.

That left Metro with a $762,000 budget gap.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz says that could have meant dramatic service cuts.

We'd have to cut Sunday service in half. We have to eliminate service on holidays, layoff five drivers. I don't think that's a very good alternative, he said.

This new proposal would eliminate $150,000 in new services and expansion projects to help fill that budget gap.

A recently announced program to help 400 low income riders get monthly passes for half price, was on the agenda, but referred to next month's transit meeting.

According to a memo from the Madison city attorney, the Transit Commission has the authority to set fares, routes, and schedules.

However, the decision could be appealed to the city council for review.

The 2009 city budget anticipated fares would increase March 1st.

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